“The way that we talk about race today is just incoherent.”

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2016-10-19 01:11Z by Steven

Society still largely operates under the misapprehension that race (largely defined by skin colour) has some basis in biology. There is a perpetuating idea that black-skinned or white-skinned people across the world share a similar set of genes that set the two races apart, even across continents. In short, it’s what Appiah calls “total twaddle”.

“The way that we talk about race today is just incoherent,” he says. “The thing about race is that it is a form of identity that is meant to apply across the world, everybody is supposed to have one – you’re black or you’re white or you’re Asian – and it’s supposed to be significant for you, whoever and wherever you are. But biologically that’s nonsense.” —Kwame Anthony Appiah

Hannah Ellis-Petersen, “Racial identity is a biological nonsense, says Reith lecturer,” The Guardian, October 18, 2016. https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/oct/18/racial-identity-is-a-biological-nonsense-says-reith-lecturer.

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Racial identity is a biological nonsense, says Reith lecturer

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Philosophy, Social Science on 2016-10-19 00:05Z by Steven

Racial identity is a biological nonsense, says Reith lecturer

The Guardian

Hannah Ellis-Petersen, Culture Reporter

Kwame Anthony Appiah says ‘race does nothing for us’. Photograph: BBC

Philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah says race and nationality are social inventions being used to cause deadly divisions

Two weeks ago Theresa May made a statement that, for many, trampled on 200 years of enlightenment and cosmopolitan thinking: “If you are a citizen of the world, you are a citizen of nowhere”.

It was a proclamation blasted by figures from all sides, but for Kwame Anthony Appiah, the philosopher who on Tuesday gave the first of this year’s prestigious BBC Reith lectures, the sentiment stung. His life – he is the son a British aristocratic mother and Ghanian anti-colonial activist father, raised as a strict Christian in Kumasi, then sent to British boarding school, followed by a move to the US in the 1970s; he is gay, married to a Jewish man and explores identity for a living – meant May’s comments were both “insulting and nonsense in every conceivable way”…

Read the entire article here.

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